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No matter how basic your equipment, you can brew barista-perfect coffee. Follow these pro tips from Jessica Durrie and Brant Cosaboom of Princeton, New Jersey’s Small World Coffee for a consistently perky cup.
“At the very least, invest in the beans,” Cosaboom says. Coffee goes bad just like a head of lettuce or salmon fillet, so get the freshest you can find. If there’s no roasting date on the bag, don’t buy it. And like fresh produce, use up your coffee stash before it turns stale, within three weeks max.
Grinding and Storing
Grinding immediately before brewing is always your best bet, as Cosaboom has found a distinct drop-off in taste within ten minutes of grinding. Can’t manage a fresh grind every morning? Just remember that moisture and oxygen are coffee’s mortal enemies. Keep both whole beans and ground coffee tightly sealed – mason jars work well – and store in a cool, dark place. The freezer slows down the oxidation process slightly, but not enough to make it mandatory.
Determine your perfect per-cup ratio: if you usually fill to the 6-cup mark, for example, use a liquid measuring cup to see how many ounces of water it takes to reach that notch. Then use the Small World ratio of 1/2 oz. ground coffee to 8 oz. water to weigh out the right amount of coffee. (A kitchen scale helps.) Finally, don’t fill from the tap: brew with filtered water to let the beans’ flavor and aromas shine.